Time Untime. Book Review

timeUTTIME UNTIME by Sherrilyn Kenyon

Piatkus, h/b, 414pp , £14.99

Reviewed by Pauline Morgan

This book is complete hokum.

The fly sheet claims that Sherrilyn Kenyon has been top of the New York Times best seller list seventeen times in the past three years. I don‘t know how they count that but if this is for separate books she would have to be publishing nine books a year. Even if this is separate hard cover and paperback editions this is still five books a year. More likely a book has dropped down and a resurgence in sales has pushed it up again. This would be false accounting. On the other hand, Time Untime reads like a first draft from someone who lacks a good editor. That’s not really surprising as we are also told that Kenyon has placed over sixty novels on this best seller list in the last nine years. A book every two months is never going to produce quality. Admittedly, statistics can be warped to give whatever result is required but if there is any truth in this and all the others are as lacking as this one, it is a poor indictment of the average American book buyer.

On the plus side, there cannot be many authors who have taken the Mayan prophecy of the end of the world on 21st December 2012. The fact that this has been misinterpreted by doom mongers doesn’t affect the plot, what little there is of it.

Kateri Avani is a full blooded Cherokee and a geologist, a fact we are reminded of at frequent intervals. Suddenly, eleven days before doomsday she finds her lab invaded by a stranger demanding a stone from her before being rescued by her cousin’s husband and teleported away. It isn’t surprising that she is confused. So is the reader, though that might be because this is the twenty-second volume in the Dark-Hunter® series. This plot can be regarded as a stand alone volume but there are clearly characters that have made previous appearances. Unless there is a lot of repetition from earlier books, Kateri isn’t one of them, neither is Ren. He is the sex object of drama, an eleven thousand year warrior brought back from the dead by the Gods – we have a mixture of Greek, Atlantean and Mayan pantheon members wandering through the plot. Both Kateri and Ren have had dreams and visions of each other but in them have killed the other – not the best way to build a relationship of trust.

Kateri is told that she is a Guardian and it is her job to reset the calendar. If she doesn’t the way will be open for all the demons from various hells to invade the Earth. The others, particularly Ren have to protect her and get her to the right place at the right time. This could have had the makings of a great fantasy story but Kateri and Ren are accidentally transported to a Mayan hell. Instead of battling their way out Ren spends an inordinate amount of time showing her his background and the abuses of his childhood (their biggest enemy is Ren’s half-brother). Then, when all the enemy are hunting them, they have sex even though they have only just met. It is unnecessary and unconvincing. (To see how these scenes should have been handled try Nalini Singh’s Psy/Changeling series or Laurel K. Hamilton’s Anita Blake series.) To compound matters, Kenyon keeps changing the point of view of her narrative. While this might have been acceptable in the past in pulp fiction to create work of some literary merit it is a mistake, and a symptom either of something rushed and unedited or ignorance.

Maybe earlier books in this series were more coherent and better written but this does a disservice to a best selling author and the readers who have bought it.